Major Events in Progressive Imperialism


Abortive Hawaiian Annexation

1876: tariff reciprocity treaty led to high sugar imports; renewed in 1883

1887: planterís revolt lead to shadow take-over by white population

1890: McKinley tariff eliminated tariffs on all sugar and subsidized US producers; Hawaiian economy hurt

1893: native queen takes power, and is resisted by planters, who favor annexation

1898: with Spanish-American war, US annexes Hawaii


Spanish-American War



 Philippines Insurrection, 1899-1902

-         2,446 dead in Spanish-American War

-         roughly 5,000 in Philippine Insurrection

-         support for Ďimperialismí declines

-         Resistance continues beyond 1902



Indirect rule in Cuba and Puerto Rico


Cuban constitution convention convened to provide local government but Ö


US required from Cuba

- right to intervene to preserve republican government

- naval base at Guantanamo

- limit on amount of foreign debt (to prevent European influence)


similar local government provisions provided in PR.


Administration of US Diplomacy

-         not a professional foreign service

-         diplomats often had financial interests in the countries they served

-         limited supervision from DC

-         US and foreign firms had extensive presence in the countries


T. Roosevelt (1901-1909)

- succeeds McKinley, who dies in office

- strong Progressive domestically

- supporter of vigorous foreign policy

- enhances US navy

- mediates treaty w/ Russia and Japan


Interventions in Caribbean


Building the Panama Canal

-         1901: US obtains exclusive rights to fortify a canal across Central America, but where to build: Nicaragua v. Panama?

-         1902: US buys rights in Panama from French company for $40 million; offers Colombia $10 million, plus $250,000 annually for canal rights;

-         Colombian govít turns down the offer

-         1903: US forces aid Panamanian rebels in seceding from Colombia

-         difficult treaty fight in Senate; anti-imperialist opposed means of acquisition


Venezuela, 1902-03

-         TR supports joint German, French, and British bombardment to force Venez. govít to pay debts

-         TR later worries over this precedent


Dominican Republic

-         SD defaults on  payments to US based sugar co.

-         TR negotiates treaty to let US have rights to collect customs in return for guaranteeing SDís territorial integrity; Senate rejects the treaty

-         1905: US intervenes to control Santo Domingo customs during revolutionary period

-         US fears European debtors will seize the capital first

-         Roosevelt Corollary to MD

-         1907: US-DR sign a convention that puts the US in effective financial control of DR;


Conclusion to PI


PI as Uniquely American

- US is not seeking territorial expansion (only Hawaii & PR kept) or colonization

- US pursue progressive ideals: self-government, economic reform, education

- occupations are "accidental" (Philippines, Cuba & PR all from Spanish-American War)

- Cuba is given qualified independence in 1901

- islands, not continental presence in Africa or Asia

- consistent with American System (McDougall)

- response to European incursions (Venezuela, Dominican Republic)


Myth of "Progressive Imperialism"


- all empires believed they were "progressive"

- brutal war fought in Philippines

- Hawaii, PR, and Pacific islands all kept by US

- extension of continental imperialism during Expansion

- US retained control over foreign policies (e.g., Cuba)

- intervention for economic interests (e.g., Dominican Republic) is a form of imperialism